Controversial hand decisions: DFB admits four referee errors

The topic of handball has been the subject of heated debate for years.

Controversial hand decisions: DFB admits four referee errors

The topic of handball has been the subject of heated debate for years. There were also some controversial decisions on the last and penultimate Bundesliga match day. The DFB around the sporting director of the Bundesliga, Peter Sippel, has now published an official statement and admitted four wrong decisions.

In the notification, the association first lists the three main criteria for a punishable handball. On the one hand, this includes the clear intention to touch the ball with your hand, for example when your arm or hand deliberately goes to the ball. On the other hand, it is about the unnatural enlargement of the body surface. The referees have to decide whether the corresponding arm or hand position is part of a natural body movement and is therefore still justified or not. The third and last point relates exclusively to goal scoring. If the ball is put into the goal by hand or if the arm or hand touches the ball immediately before the goal is scored, the goal is always irregular. Intentional or not is immaterial in this case.

Based on this, the DFB found four wrong decisions on the last two match days. The games affected are Borussia Dortmund versus TSG Hoffenheim (5th matchday), Bremen versus Augsburg, Hertha versus Leverkusen and Union Berlin versus Cologne (all 6th matchday). "We have analyzed the situations and will discuss the results again with the referees before the next matchday," announced Peter Sippel, who is responsible for the Bundesliga referee.

TSG defender Ozan Kabak blocked a cross from Marius Wolf with his hand, but referee Daniel Siebert's whistle remained silent. The VAR had not intervened either.

A wrong decision, as Peter Sippel explains: "Due to the movement of the arm to the ball, it is intentional and a penalty kick would be the logical consequence. Because the pictures clearly show this process, the video assistant would also have had to intervene and the referee would have had the opportunity to come to the right decision by taking a second look at the situation."

Sippel also thinks referee Martin Petersen's penalty whistle in added time in the game between Bremen and Augsburg was wrong. Werder striker Marvin Ducksch hit Augsburg's Maximilian Bauer on the arm from close range.

"Here the defender is in a rotating movement, without a clear orientation to the ball. The arms, although a little apart from the body, are to be classified as a natural consequence of the body movement. [...] There is no intention recognizable, and also the aspect of the unnatural Enlargement of the body is clearly to be denied. [...] The referee awarded a penalty here, which is to be classified as clearly and obviously wrong. The video assistant has to intervene in such a situation," said Sippel.

Referee Benjamin Brand had rated Leverkusen's Odilon Kossounou's handball as not punishable. The Bayer defender blocked a shot from Hertha's Jean-Paul Boetius with his arm.

Sippel: "If you analyze the available image material carefully, then the arm is spread out to the side. The defender is facing the ball, actively engaged in a defensive action, and the upper body is slightly inclined towards the side of the ball. The left arm is even behind the body. The right arm remains in the path of the ball and only goes behind the back after the ball has been blocked. This is an unnatural enlargement of the body surface and is therefore a punishable handball. Here, too, the video assistant has to intervene due to the clear images and recommend an on-field review to the referee."

After a header from Union's Robin Knoche, the ball jumped onto the arm of Cologne's Luca Kilian. Referee Benjamin Cortus had pointed to the point.

"The defender's arm movement does not represent an unnatural enlargement of the body surface," Sippel assesses the scene. Therefore, the penalty decision was "clearly and obviously wrong, and the video assistant should have intervened."

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This article was originally published on as Controversial hand decisions: DFB admits four referee errors.

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